Is ‘Moist’ the Worst Word in the English Language? (Hint: Yes, Yes It Is)

Damon Young/The Root
Damon Young/The Root

Of the various reactions to that “black men are the whites of blacks” thing I wrote and shit yesterday, the most entertaining negative comments have been those that include the word “moist.” I’ve been, in the last 24 hours, a “moist man,” a “moist-ass motherfucker” and a “moist feminist,” and someone said something about me wearing moist panties, which sounds less like an insult and more like undiagnosed discharge issues. It also seems uncomfortable and squishy. (Which reminds me that “squishy” is a terrible word, too.)


Anyway, I’ve long barred “moist” from my general lexicon because it’s such a terrible word to say and hear. The only context when moist is appropriate is when referring to the moistness of cake. But moist cake is usually also delicious cake, so why say “moist” when you can just say “delicious”? (What kind of sociopath is choosing moist over delicious?) Hearing it so much over the past day, however, brought it back into my consciousness and has made me ask, once and for all, whether “moist” is the single worst word in the English language.

I believe so. I believe all the other terrible words—a list that includes “breasts,” “radishes,” “taint,” “beaver” and “Omarosa”—are second to “moist.” I believe “moist” is the Lionel Messi of shitty words—the Beyoncé of shit that, when you say it, makes you want to never say it again.

I’m not alone with my feelings on “moist.” On Jezebel alone, there are (at least) three separate pieces articulating this disgust. Also, 15 seconds ago, a UPS van with Taylor Swift’s face on it just drove past the shop I’m sitting in. I’m not sure if that has any relevance to this conversation, but I just wanted to share.

So yeah, in summary, fuck moist. (But not literally, though. Please do not stick your dick inside of moist.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Damon Young

To clarify, sticking penises into moist parts of bodies after receiving consent from the owner of said body parts? Good! Sticking penises into the word “moist” itself? Bad! (Because where would it go? Inside the ‘o’?)